Budget bills introduced

Budget bills spelling out $5 billion in general fund spending and $13.8 billion in total spending for the coming two years were introduced in the Assembly and Senate Sunday.

That is more than 25 percent higher than the $3.8 billion in general fund budgets for the current biennium and 30 plus percent higher than the current total spending package of $10 billion.

The Appropriations Act spells out how all state general fund money will be spent for the next two years. The Authorizations Act spells out how all other revenues will be spent.

The Senate voted out the Authorizations Act unanimous Sunday night, sending it to the Assembly for final legislative action. The Appropriations Act was scheduled for a vote today in the Assembly.

Separate bills will be introduced as soon as analysts and the legal staff finish them to fund the Distributive School Account and Class-Size Reduction programs. Work is also in progress to finish legislation to implement pay raises for state workers agreed to by lawmakers and to spell out the state's $218.3 million Capital Improvement Program for the biennium.

Public schools and the university system will combine to get $2.7 billion of the general fund, roughly 55 percent. The Distributive School Account is the largest general fund budget, at $1.71 million over the biennium. When all other revenues, including state-mandated taxes, are added to that, the DSA totals $3.75 billion in the budget agreed to by the Assembly and Senate money committees.

The university system is budgeted for $982.15 million in general fund dollars. When $295.56 million in student fees, grants and other revenues are added in, the total system budget for the coming two years is $1.27 billion.

Both public school and university budgets are more than 30 percent higher than the current budgets.

The next largest state budget is Medicaid, which contains $633.5 million in state dollars and $1.4 billion in federal money, a total of $2.03 billion over the biennium.

The Nevada Check-Up program, which provides health insurance coverage to children of Nevada families that have jobs and don't qualify for Medicaid but can't afford benefits, has a total proposed budget of $67.2 million. Just $18.7 million comes from state coffers with the rest -- more than two-thirds of the total -- from the federal government.

It will cost the state $500.22 million the next biennium to pay health insurance premiums for active and retired state workers.

The Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services has a total biennial budget of $376.6 million: $122.78 million from the federal government and $244.83 million in state funds. Welfare programs have a total budget of $469.2 million: $300.62 million in federal money and $168.57 million from state coffers.

It will cost the state a total of $370.17 million in state money and $66.97 in other revenues, a total of $437.15 million, to operate the prison system in 2004 and 2005.

It will cost $167.34 million to run the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The total cost of operating the governor's office over the next two years will be $7.65 million.

And the total cost of operating the Legislative branch will be $45.86 million in state funds plus $1.4 million in other funds. That $47.27 million doesn't include the cost of the 2005 Legislature, which will be at least $12 million.


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